The United States Supreme Court starts a new term on the first Monday in October. This is a historic term because Ketanji Brown Jackson, appointed in February, is the first Black woman to serve on the court. It’s a fitting time to look back at the history of the court and test your own knowledge.
You probably know that when the Founding Fathers set up the government, they created three parts: legislative (Congress), executive (president and federal agencies) and judicial (courts). The idea was to share the power and allow each part to stop the others from getting too much. The job of the courts was to figure out what laws mean and whether laws agree with the Constitution or go against it.
They decided that one court should be the highest in the country. So they created the Supreme Court as part of the Constitution, but they didn’t include many details. Who would serve on it? For how long? How many lower courts would be needed? Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789, which provided a basic structure, some of which still exists.
The court has decided thousands of cases. Here are a few big ones:
- Brown v. Board of Education: Public schools can’t separate students based on their race.
- Miranda v. Arizona: Police must tell people before asking them questions that they have a right to remain silent and to have an attorney present.
- Tinker v. Des Moines: Students have freedom of speech at school unless they are disrupting school.
Find out what else you know about the Supreme Court by taking our quiz. We invite kids ages 8 to 13 to have a parent or teacher fill out contact information on the form linked below and give permission for them to submit the quiz. (You can also access the quiz at wapo.st/KidsPostCourtQuiz.) We will randomly select three kids who answered all the questions correctly and send them a KidsPost prize package. One entry per person. Entries are due by October 24. The correct answers will be published in KidsPost later this month. Winners will be notified by October 31.
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